Isn't it fun to watch fat cats get fatter?

On top of his $739,695 base salary, UCLA administrator David Feinberg — who serves as both associate vice chancellor and CEO of the public university's hospital system — received a $218,728 “award” from the UC Regents this month for a job well done.

That brings his yearly earnings to about $1 million.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the regents approved Feinberg's bonus, along with roughly $3 million more in “incentive pay and raises” for top UC medical officials, on January 21.

For instance, Paul Staton — the chief financial officer of UCLA's hospital system —

received both a 10.5 percent pay raise (bringing his future salary to $420,000 annually) as well as a nearly $100,000 January bonus.

And they may be letting it go to their heads: Both Feinberg and Staton threatened to sue last month if the regents didn't inflate their pensions.

In all statements on January's mass giveaway, the regents are making sure everybody knows “all medical center incentives are paid from clinical revenues — no state funds are used.” However, as UC tuition blasts through the roof and course offerings dwindle at pathetic lows, it's hard not to dream that surplus revenues might reach needier hands.

Say, ground-level hospital workers who've suffered endless rounds of layoffs and furloughs over the last couple years. Couldn't they, too, have something to do with bangin' hospital performance?

The Los Angeles Times talked to some angry union heads after the decision came in:

“This is appalling to do this when they are telling the lowest-paid workers to stay in poverty,” said Lakesha Harrison, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299, which represents about 20,000 UC workers, including hospital technicians and campus custodians.

Some of the union's members get bonuses of about $300 a year, Harrison said. In contrast, the payments to the 38 senior managers range from about $30,100 to nearly $219,000.

What could possibly justify Staton's eye-popping pay raise?

According to the Chronicle, “the campus called it a 'pre-emptive retention salary adjustment.'” When we called the hospital's media office and asked for their reasoning, a spokesman told us, “All I can suggest is that you go by what the UC Regents say.”

From the regents' “Background to Recommendation”:

The Los Angeles Hospital System's executive team is a model of extraordinary excellence and leadership, and the campus must ensure that Mr. Staton can be compensated at or near the market median for his role and responsibilities.

As for the bonuses — the official UC Newsroom summary says, in a nutshell, that all the top execs receiving “awards” performed exceptionally in 2008-09, and are now being compensated for their hard work. Handsomely. Or, in regent-speak:

The Clinical Enterprise Management Recognition Plan (CEMRP) is an incentive plan that provides financial awards based on meeting or exceeding targets for quality of care, financial performance and other goals such as patient satisfaction for the health sciences and services system.

Have fun rolling in your dough, guys — way to take one for the team.

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